Duane Sorenson gets together with his mother and sister to bake these buttery date-studded cookies every year for the holidays. Slideshow: More Holiday Cookie Recipes
In a food processor, pulse the pecans until finely ground. In a medium bowl, whisk the ground pecans with the flour, dates and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the butter with ¾ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the remaining 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar in a large pie pan. Working in 3 batches, using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop the dough into 1-inch balls. Arrange the balls on the prepared sheets at least 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then roll them in the confectioners’ sugar until completely coated. Let cool completely, then roll again in the confectioners’ sugar.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.